The circus surrounding this year’s electoral season doesn’t end.
Kristin Davis, who claims to be the former madam for ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and is now running against him in the comptroller’s race, was arrested yesterday by federal prosecutors on charges of selling prescription pills containing controlled substances for cash.
The string of corruption arrests in New York State is far from over, according to the man who has issued many of the indictments.
In a rare televised interview with Capital Tonight, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said even more public corruption cases can be expected to emerge due to the “pervasive” nature of the problem in the state.
Embattled Councilman Dan Halloran, whom federal prosecutors have charged with quarterbacking a bribery scheme to rig the mayor’s race, is having trouble holding staff members.
First, Mr. Halloran’s legislative director, John Mulvey, bailed, followed by his chief of staff, Chrissy Voskerichian. And today, Kevin Ryan, Mr. Halloran’s spokesman, just did the same.
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”
What You Should Know
Several days ago, State Senator James Sanders reacted to the news that his predecessor wore a wire in an attempt to reduce her corruption sentence, by criticizing her for “snitching.” Well, the New York Post didn’t take kindly to that, and this morning, the publication editorialized harshly against Mr. Sanders, claiming he “seems to be endorsing the crime-abetting law of street thugs.”
Mr. Sanders released a follow-up statement this afternoon taking exception to the Post‘s characterization. “Snitching,” Mr. Sanders wrote, was only in the context of entrapment, which he insisted the editorial missed.
Less Than Ideal Statements
Outspoken State Senator Rubén Díaz, Sr. is out with another one of his “What You Should Know” missives, this one addressing the recent spate of New York legislators being arrested, a list that State Senator John Sampson joined yesterday. And Mr. Díaz, in a roundabout way, very strongly suggests there’s a racial component to federal prosecutors’ targets.
“The only thing we do know that is new in these times in New York State, is the Black and Hispanic politicians are the ones being wired and sent out to root out corruption among Black and Hispanic officials,” he said in a statement dismissing alarmist rhetoric to describe the Empire State’s corruption controversies. “I would hate to think that as Black and Hispanic leaders who are elected to represent our communities, that we would be targeted to weed out corruption only in our backyards, and that we would be held to a higher standard than the non-Black and Hispanic leaders.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office is holding a press conference any moment now to detail the charges against State Senator John Sampson, who was arrested this morning for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme. Specifically, Mr. Sampson is charged with two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.
One particularly interesting moment in the indictment, which can be viewed below, is when FBI agents approached Mr. Sampson at the end of July to ask about the alleged criminal schemes. According to the complaint, “At the conclusion of the interview, agents advised the defendant John Sampson that he had lied to federal agents, which constituted a federal crime. After being asked whether he wished to revise his statement, Sampson stated, ‘Not everything I told you was false.’”
Another Shoe Drops
After State Senator John Sampson was arrested for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme this morning, the lawmaker who replaced Mr. Sampson as the head of the Senate’s Democratic conference, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, acted swiftly by stripping him of rank and privilege.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
deja vu all over again
State Senator John Sampson, who up until recently led his chamber’s Democratic conference, is set to turn himself into federal authorities today after being ensared in a bribery scandal, according to The New York Times and New York Post.
It’s unclear to what extent Mr. Sampson may have been cooperating with federal prosecutors prior to this point. His involvement in an alleged scheme with then-State Senator Shirley Huntley, who already pleaded guilty to her own charges, was revealed last week when a sentencing letter made public Ms. Huntley’s own cooperation. The Times reports Mr. Sampson be charged with obstruction of justice.
Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. just can’t catch a break.
Mr. Boyland, who was previously charged with soliciting bribes to pay his legal bills in an unrelated corruption trial, was indicted again last March for wire fraud charges stemming from alleged abuse of per diem requests. And he was just charged yet again today.